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The difficulties of predicting alimony reduction on retirement

In 2012 South Carolina passed a statute, S.C. Code § 20-3-170(B), in which one subsection set forth criteria for the family courts to consider when modifying alimony upon a supporting spouse’s retirement. One assumed the goal was to create greater certainty and uniformity for retirement-based alimony reduction/termination cases. However this subsection lists six factors for […]

Marital property as lump sum alimony

There are occasionally cases in which a spouse who would typically pay significant permanent periodic alimony as part of a marital dissolution has destroyed his career around the time of the parties’ separation. Often this career destruction was the cause of the marital dissolution: a spouse charged with a crime that leaves him incarcerated or […]

Unpublished Supreme Court opinion in Conits demonstrates the effect of de novo standard of review

Last week I blogged about how the Supreme Court’s decisions in Lewis and Stoney–mandating a de novo standard of appellate review of family court factual findings–was making it more worthwhile to appeal family court orders. I noted last month’s oral argument in Conits v. Conits as an example of how this less deferential standard of […]

Tomlinson continues the appellate disfavor of joint custody

The November 13, 2019, Court of Appeals opinion in Tomlinson v. Melton continues the appellate court’s disfavor of joint custody. In Tomlinson, the parties entered a custody agreement at the time of their 2011 divorce that gave Father primary physical custody and final decision making authority but gave Mother every other week from Wednesday to […]

What de novo appellate review is actually doing

I thought it noteworthy when the Supreme Court remanded Stoney v. Stoney, 421 S.C. 528 , 809 S.E.2d 59 (2017), back to the Court of Appeals to apply an even less deferential (to the family court) standard of review for an appeal in which the Court of Appeals had granted the appellant practically everything she […]

Stone v. Thompson is in the books

Updating some of my blogs this morning to include citations to Southeastern Reporter and South Carolina Reports, I realized that the petition for rehearing in Stone v. Thompson, 833 S.E.2d 266 (S.C. 2019), was denied on October 16, 2019. Until a petition for rehearing is denied or remittitur issues, a published opinion is always subject […]

South Carolina Supreme Court holds family court improperly denied foster parents’ requests to intervene in removal cases

In the November 6, 2019, case of Cooper v. SCDSS, the South Carolina Supreme Court found that the family court had improperly denied Foster Parents’ requests to intervene in DSS removal actions. The two sets of Foster Parents at issue had placement of Mother and Father’s three children (at the time of trial one set […]

South Carolina Court of Appeals holds arbitration orders regarding children’s issues are void ab initio

Many family law attorneys in the Charleston area were awaiting the Court of Appeals decision in Singh v. Singh, which was argued there this February. That appeal was supposed to determine whether child issues in family court could be arbitrated. While many family law attorneys were allowing such issues to be arbitrated, other family law […]

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